Maryland 5* --- **Important Info** for GA Ticket Holders

that ‘work around’ is exactly my plan too… once i find a friend with a pass :wink:

1 Like

i don’t think there are capacity limits (or at least, i’d be surprised if there were for saturday) – but ticket prices may be higher if purchased at the gate rather than in advance.

Per the MLE podcast a week or so ago, for general admission there shouldn’t be capacity limits because it’s outdoors and the facility is so massive.

I’ve had bags checked at Kentucky but they didn’t care about how many compartments I had. I just walked up and opened the bag for them to check.

1 Like

Last I heard (this weekend), they had ONLY sold 8000 tickets, which is way below what they were expecting. So I doubt they will reach any capacity limits.

1 Like

Quick update from further review of the website:

“Re-entry into the venue is not permitted. If medication is required, be sure to have it with you upon entry.”

So… Don’t buy anything you aren’t comfortable carrying all day, or that you won’t mind getting wet if it’s raining. At least Kentucky allows re-entry with a hand stamp…

1 Like

I was planning on giving away my extra GA tickets I’ve earned from volunteering. I guess I’ll keep them in case I need re-entry or I can’t bring my food in (and the sight of my epipen and medication pouch doesn’t scare someone enough).

The fact that a mini backpack isn’t allowed but a larger backpack is allowed is… kind of crazy. I’m really thinking I’m going to get turned away with whatever bag I bring because I’ll either have a separate pouch inside which isn’t allowed or a bag that they don’t allow. Maybe I should just skip the whole thing after my volunteer days because I don’t know if I care enough.

The world equestrian games allowed any size backpack and re entry at any time. Fair hill has lost their mind with this many restrictions.


I’m glad you posted this.

I have tickets and was planning on attending with my toddler. His multi-compartment diaper backpack (the only diaper bag I own) likely would have been problematic.

They are going to catch a lot of people off guard only because the GA rules for the Fair Hill International were so permissive.

PS I’m on the fence about going because my life is insanity at the moment. I may be looking to rehome my XC GA ticket at the last minute. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

ugh I used a friend with a new baby who also only has one diaper bag as an example in my email exchange with them, but they ignored that particular bit. really tho, i can not imagine a scenario where you’d get turned away with a toddler in tow, even if they’re being zealous about everyone else. but who really knows?

in any case i hope you do still go just bc… ya know, it’s the maryland 5*, it’s exciting, and fair hill is beautiful… right now i’m seriously grumpy about the major shift in policy, but maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised??

Well, with the Maryland Stadium Authority now running the gig, I’m not totally surprised.

I hope to go. I think we will be pleasantly surprised, at least on XC day, because I seriously don’t know how they can micromanage such an expansive area (though more condensed than prior years). They are probably just parroting MSA policy on the website.

ETA: I am not particularly concerned about the inability to leave and re-enter. In years past it was tough because they bused you to the gate if you were in general parking. They always had a good and fairly priced variety of food and beverages. This year, it appears the main entrance has moved and is now walkable to general parking. I would hope the food and beverage options would be at least as good as previously, being a more grand event now.

I haven’t been to the K3DE, but these are pretty similar to the policies they had at WEGs in Tryon. I remember that there were some rules about type of bag - maybe it had to be clear? Because I know my mom and I scrambled to find the right kind of bag when we read the rules. They were kind of strict on the bag checking the first couple of days, but definitely relaxed as it went on. Water bottles were definitely allowed - I’m pretty sure there would have been a riot if not given how hot it was. I think the food policy was similar- your post said no meals, but the website FAQ says “Light refreshments, including snacks that can be contained in a sandwich sized bag.” I definitely brought a baggie of leftover fried chicken for XC day at WEGs, because we didn’t know what the food situation would be at the XC venue.

However, while similar to the policies at other high profile events, I do think it is ridiculous given that they are going to allow tailgaters to bring their vehicles in (at WEGs, there was no tailgating, so at least it was consistent for everyone.) I also think it is going to be a shock to those used to going to Fair Hill. It will be interesting to see if they really hold to these strict policies the whole weekend.

so the “light refreshments” detail on the FAQs page was added after my first email to them, which they acknowledged in their first reply to me. the original FAQ page said “No personal food or beverages.”

in follow up emails where i asked for clarification on what, exactly, “light refreshments” means, they replied the following (various) explanations:

“Allowing light refreshments is intended to accommodate people with dietary restrictions, young children or medical needs. We ask attendees to use their best judgment when packing snacks for themselves.”
“The expectation is that you are packing light refreshments for yourself and/or your small child.”
“Light refreshments are meant to provide for yourself, not your entire group. If you are looking for a meal or food for your whole group, we hope that you would support the local businesses that are partnering with this event.”
“The liquid containers comment was in reference to items such as flasks and pre-opened soda or water bottles, simply because contents of the bottle are unknown. Reusable water bottles are permitted as they cut down on waste and we understand that water will not be easily accessible in all portions of the property.”

anyway, your point re: how WEG didn’t allow tailgating, and therefore all guests followed the same practices kinda hits the nail on the head. at Fair Hill, that is 100% not the case. the only difference between guests who may bring whatever bag, food, or beverage they please, and guests who absolutely may not, is the cost of their ticket…

1 Like

Yeah, the inconsistency is pretty glaring. Thanks for pushing them to clarify their policies! Maybe we should all start emailing them to ask how many water filling stations there are going to be on the XC course and what counts as a “light refreshment” vs a meal.

please Please PLEASE email them!!!

my intent with this thread isn’t to give the 5* a hard time, but rather to ensure that Fair Hill’s DECADES of hard work in cultivating a loyal and enthusiastic spectatorship at their fall event isn’t immediately alienated and squandered by an ignorant corporate events management company.

bc let’s be real… how many of you go to FHI’s april event? don’t lie, either, bc if you’ve been there, we’ve probably met lol. bc NOBODY goes. yet it’s the same horses, same riders, same jumps. why is that?? bc eventing spectatorship in the US is trash, and venues invest immeasurably in cultivating their fans. i’d rather the 5* folks not have to learn that the hard way…

1 Like

But the fall Fair Hill International has always been a different animal than any of their other events. Attendance was never really a problem. People have been showing up in October for many years.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it fairly recently when the spring event started running FEI recognized? In the past, I just remember it being just another recognized horse trial. Then I moved back to the area and went huh??? It certainly isn’t promoted like the fall 4*L was.

yea you’re definitely right, but did people go to FHI’s fall event because it was a 4*-L? if so, why aren’t those same people going to Morven this weekend instead? (xc is saturday, btw!!!)

or did they go bc it was marketed for years as a welcoming fun day spent outside with friends and family? in which case… unexpected, restrictive or expensive barriers to entry might make folks who have never spent more than $25 to get inside the gates opt out.

I’ve been a long time attendee and volunteer (I’ll be putting in 5 days between pre-event and event volunteering this year). I’ll be honest, there is always buzz around the event in the area and this year, the community isn’t interested. People who were interested are turned off by the rules. Locals are turned off by the take over of the park and how FHI can get away with things that no other horse event could ever dream of. There is just a lot of animosity. The price is higher (I think) and many families just can’t justify it if they can’t also bring lunch (usually I’d see people bring lunch and buy snacks or vice versa). I’m sure bags will get a lot of people too. Will those people go back to cars and leave stuff or just leave? Buses are for volunteers only (parking at the training center). Parking for the general public will be like the Cecil County Fair.

Ticketing will be cashless. This will get folks too. They are rolling out so many changes at once. I have seats for stadium so I’ll go and I’m sure I’ll end up going for cross country, but I’ll see what response I get to my email.

I don’t mind that they made changes, but they need the community to attend. I don’t see why a large 1 pocket backpack is ok but a tiny mini backpack with a little front pocket isn’t… do purses have to be one pocket? If not, can I carry my backpack like a purse through bag check? Lol.


Not that they will care but, as some one who has volunteered for the 4* for over 20 years and is at Fair Hill daily, I am boycotting this event and know many other locals who are as well. My company also sponsored many of the plants and decorations there and we have chosen to no longer do that


kaleigh’s response to the bag thing was that “single compartments” streamline the bag check process: they don’t want security ‘wasting time’ checking multiple compartments (no matter how tiny) in guests’ bags. rational people might suggest… maybe just skip the checks haha (esp since, not to beat a dead horse here, but they aren’t checking tailgate vehicles to nearly the same degree of scrutiny). but so far they’re sticking to their guns…

tho. it occurs to me, one whole length of the track is literally right across the street from a row of houses, and folks in the neighborhood routinely just cross right over the street to walk their dogs etc, not to mention the many other points of entry in the sprawling park. i wonder what their plan is for policing the perimeters??

1 Like

I get this. My fear is that if they are so strict on this, how will they feel about bags within bags? Like zipped pouches/mini bags/etc. I have various things like that that I carry that contain… medication. They are dark and sealed because 1. I don’t actually want people looking at various prescriptions 2. I don’t want baggies to break and 3. the whole “keep out of sunlight” piece. I have 3 that I carry at all times and if they are strict about single compartments, this could be an issue. I guess I’ll just risk is. Are they really going to give me an issue about medicine? (The answer could be yes… I mean, I mean they’re more strict than TSA :rofl: )